There was mayhem at Mutegude Shopping Centre in Redcliff’s Rutendo suburb after soldiers stationed at 1 Air Defence in the dormitory town reportedly ran amok, beating up patrons who were imbibing at the shops in apparent defiance of the extended 2-week Covid19 lockdown imposed on Kwekwe and surrounding areas.

Whilst efforts to get an official comment from the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) failed to bear dividends as of late last night, residents from the neighborhood told Zwnews that they were caught unawares when the soldiers pounced on them at around 7pm yesterday.

“Some shops were still open by the time the soldiers came and it appears they ambushed patrons who were enjoying drinks outside the pubs at the shopping centre,” said a resident who was caught in the crossfire.

“I still do not understand how I managed to negotiate my way through swarms of some soldiers garbed in military regalia but I am sure some people are nursing injuries”,  he said.

“Some people were forced into a military truck and taken to Pondoroza (1 Air Defense), perceptibly to pay fines,” said another eye-witness.

“The beatings were indiscriminate and some vendors who were still packing their wares got affected,” the eye-witness said on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

The Zimbabwe Government recently extended the localized Covid19 lockdown for Kwekwe district amid a surge in infections and the detection of the highly transmissible Delta variant that was first detected in India.

The small Midlands town of Redcliff also falls under Kwekwe district.